Post Fire Hike - Ponderosa Campground to Visitor Center Via Upper Crossing
The Las Conchas Fire of 2011 burned over 60% of Bandelier National Monument. Frijoles Canyon was heavily impacted with over 70% of its length burned, some quite intensely. In late summer, heavy thunderstorms dropped large volumes of water in a short period of time on the devastated landscape. Flash flooding followed, highlighted by the largest flood of the season on August 21, 2011. Approx 9 months later (and then again another month later) we hiked the canyon to see how things were impacted and also to see how much recovery there has been. For those who have done this hike before the trip was eye opening with both a sense of loss and also one of hope. As we approach the late summer rainy season (the months of July, August, and September) this hike is not recommended as more severe flooding is almost a certainty. What follows are images of what we found on our 8 mile hike from Ponderosa Campground to the park visitor center via Upper Crossing on May 1st and June 6th 2012.